1a. 3,000 Years of Deception: A book about forgeries in art and antiques, that I have never read. Deception, as a word, has onomatopoeic qualities - as one almost hisses the 'cep' and the 'tion'. Being deceived is humiliating and disappointing, as well as enraging and tiresome. John Ruskin believed that 'the essence of lying is deception, not words' - and though they seem hard to untangle from one another, being lied to and being deceived are two distinct experiences. The writer Maria Konnikova notes that 'even when we're on the look out for signs of deception, studies show that our accuracy is hardly better than chance', which is both worrying and liberating - if you can't tell when you're being deceived, it's hardly worth wasting your time worrying about it.
n.b. Read Malcolm Gladwell, Talking to Strangers
2. Mineral paint is felt not seen: intense and visceral, these surfaces have a subtle yet impactful presence.
With a completely matte finish and an alluring, chalky texture, surfaces treated with mineral paint feel both historic and contemporary. Whether cloud-like or inky in tone, mineral paint scatters and amplifies natural light, enhancing the bright, crisp quality of daylight.
First created in the late 19th Century by the Bavarian scientist, Adolf Wilheim Keim, more than 100 years later KEIM is still the world’s leading specialist in the production and development of mineral paints. Studio Oliver Gustav in Copenhagen uses mineral paint to great effect, daubing rooms in green-grey, dove grey and charcoal grey. These walls become an active part of the room, no longer a back-drop but a well-considered frame.
4. I often request half a cup of coffee, but always return for another half. For Christmas I was given the 'quarter cup' - an espresso cup that I will doubtless refill four times over.
3. Things are delicate, they hang in the balance. Things that look solid are not; relationships, objects, memories, are more fragile that we know, or care to know - but maybe sometimes the cracks and tears and bruises make something more charming, more personal, more interesting.
5. Returning home over the summer, I knew that time was short: a buyer had been found, and only paperwork needed to be completed.
I took a roll of film - documenting the colours, shapes and surfaces - which was finally developed almost six months later, now that the house is in our past - no longer the vessel of our memories, our things, our family. The size, shape and volume of the house is not ours to be experienced, but the photographs can be, and the fabrics, plants and objects that we each selected to keep can be too. It is impossible to love everything equally, there are rooms that I didn't spend time in, objects that I never cared for, details that I never noticed - however, I did document the elements I loved the most and I gathered the objects that I value the most, making a living scrapbook of the house and the time we spent there.
6. Gluten-free spirulina pasta. I haven't any desire to eat it, but I like how it looks.
7. Laboratory codes or seductive words - differing colours and shades fall into one of the two categories. I own make-up in G9 and No.119, but I also own shades in Storm, Puff, Paradise, Dusk, Modest, Tobacco, Myth and Tropic Equinox. I struggle to buy a shade that has an unappealing name, to the detriment of my complexion, I'm sure. In saying that, I do enjoy how anti-aspirational the colour names are at Farrow & Ball:
8. At the end of a year of being inside, my imagination has creative block. Another game of backgammon, another game of cards, another movie, another online drawing class. Variety is the spice of life, and so is routine always bland?
9. Fun jewellery at not-fun prices, Irene Neuwirth's designs are a true commitment to the idea of fun. This pair was worn by Kamala Harris at the Feb 2021 Inauguration ceremony.